Ok, you still want details? I first contacted Meik, who is a passionate fly-fisherman, several months before a planned family trip to Thailand after running across his website. I had never heard of Mahseer before but the idea of fly fishing in one of the world’s oldest rainforests was intriguing. Meik picked me up from my hotel in Khao Lak and we made the trip from there into the jungle: about 2hrs in the car to Cheow Lan lake, another two hours on a longtail boat, then up the river, then hiking on an elephant trail for a couple of hours to get to the first fishing spots. Meik suggests three days to maximize your experience, and trust me he’s not just padding his bookings.
Wild and alien all at the same time. When your guide tells you “If we run into an elephant, just run the other way” you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. We made camp with two local guides (the boat operator and the forest ranger) which consisted of jungle hammocks (actually very comfortable), a fire and bamboo utensils all made by our guides on the spot. It was rustic to the extreme, but hey, that’s what I’m into.
The fish… ahh the fish. Mahseer do not disappoint. In fact, they knocked my socks off. These are powerful, powerful fish. They hold in the river just like trout and they take huge dry flies, nymphs and streamers so brutally you’ll think a barracuda just smashed your fly. And then…. they run. One minute you’ve tightened up on a fish and the next you are sprinting down river after this fish that’s swimming like he’s taking your fly to sea. And there are fish EVERYWHERE!!!
But lest you start to think that these fish are a bunch of dumb bruisers that will swallow any presentation you give them, be warned: these are the spookiest fish I have ever come across. One bad cast, one splash, one errant shadow, and, as Meik would say… it’s over. These are paranoid, challenging fish. Practice your casting and get comfortable doing it on your knees.
Meik asks for a %50 deposit up front by wire transfer, and that can be a little intimidating when you are coming from outside the country, but Meik is an exceedingly honest guy and you will get what you pay for. If you’re not into camping, it’s also possible to stay on the floating lake huts at the ranger station, which I imagine is a pretty cool experience on it’s own.
Thanks again Meik, I’m already thinking about next year!
Dr. Nathan Miller